Archive for RiskADay

Risk. Regret. Realism.

By Guest Blogger, Andrea Lea-Kraus.

risk

1: Possibility of loss or injury : peril
2: The chance that an investment (as a stock or commodity) will lose value

regret:
1 a : To mourn the loss or death of
1 b : To miss very much
2 : To be very sorry for

realism:
1 : Concern for fact or reality and rejection of the impractical and visionary

Sometimes… when the concept-mosquitoes are swarming around the muggy, boggy swamp of my mind… 

I have to dip into the clear, cool, as-yet-untainted (by that sticky, humid, south Georgia-in-July, bulldog-with-a-bone mind), Merriam-Webster-well take on what words mean. Take it back to the basics. Detach a little. Relax the jaw.

Somehow, grabbing onto a definition helps things feel less personal when every thought in the swarm seems to itch for days, sometimes at an intensity level that sends me clawing awkwardly for that unreachable spot one inch to the right of the angel-bone – you know, the one on the tight-shoulder-side of life.

Words like shame, regret, disappointment, regret, never, too late, settle, dissatisfaction, regret, are fast-breeding parasites in the muddled mind; squatters in the high-rent district whose rights are illogically and ironically protected by universal law, who have only to show up to get a free meal and a place to stay.

How unfortunate and unfair that words like forgiveness, self-love, beauty, perfection, joy, good, have to be lassoed into one’s consciousness over and over, with never-ending dedication and a fool’s faith – like doing crunches every day to keep in touch with those abs we’ve heard are underneath – just to make a blip on one’s screen of awareness (I mean, how many crunches have you done without seeing any result? What does it take???).

So, several parasitic concepts are giving me the itch right now.

The double-edged blade of “risk” is neither friend nor foe, though we tend to sing the praises of the shiny side of the sword here (and rightly so – enough of that toothy, serrated side being worshipped out there), but I cannot help but see how the risks I have taken in my life have mostly led me down the painful path to regret. My mind is pretty clever sometimes, in the Cheshire Cat way that minds can be clever enough to lead one just out of earshot of one’s higher voice – one’s True Voice? – so intellectually I know that I can take this idea and spin it into a positive… but where does the spin begin and where does it end?

Once I start the new-age “think positive” spin, how do I decide what was first spun and what is just REAL?

I can say that all my risks worked out because we all got out alive and it could always be worse, but that’s not real – that’s not what I really feel. That’s a manufactured thought, designed by the Cheshire cat mind and the new wave of feel-good thinking which, by the way, I buy into 99%.

I keep being drawn back to the scene in Adam Sandler’s Spanglish where Tia Leone’s character is having a nervous breakdown in her big, black SUV with her mother standing by the window saying, “lately your low self-esteem is just good common sense.”

I usually only write or appear in any way when I have something figured out; when I have trekked past the mirage’s promise of quenching my thirst on the surface, and burrowed deeply enough into the earth’s bosom to slurp one sip of crystal clear truth, swirling it around on my parched palate, grateful and cleansed…

But that is not where they send my mail. I am thrilled to have a glimpse now and then and bring home my big fish tales to anyone who’ll listen, but I dwell too in this buggy swamp with the squatters and skeeters.

I am not sure what I am risking today. I’m not sure I’ve ever actually known what was at risk in the moment that I “took” it. There has always been an unfolding of joys or consequences I could not have seen around those corners. I’m not sure if it is “good” to share the negative feelings while they still feel negative. I’ve always gone with the if-you-don’t-have-something-nice-to-say dogmatic principle, so this is a new approach for me.

I’m going to say that I’m risking looking at my shit realistically and owning the fact that I feel, at times, like I could drown in a sea of regret. Like I am on damage control. Like I’ll do the best with where I got myself but I followed that damn disappearing, hallucinated Cheshire cat so far off course that I have given up on finding my way back… like I can never risk again because I am frozen by the cold reality of how long and empty the hall of life can feel and how far an echo can travel. Like I need to mourn some losses (is mourning a task one can ever complete?).

Maybe I’m risking a different kind of honesty.

My life is so good and I have so much to be joyful about in the NOW – but I am apparently never quite finished punishing myself for my past mistakes, so I have to rip myself out of the moment (don’t worry, I know it’s wrong and I am already punishing myself for this, too). That’s not the sort of thing you admit on a blog! This is a place for higher thinking and self-development, answers and solutions, steps forward and progress!

The best I can say is that Mercury is retrograde and I am, too.

This post originally appeared on True Voices’ RiskADay Blog Project which has now concluded.

 Andi Lea-Kraus is a yoga teacher, personal trainer, writer , and all-around artist who is cracking the code of the symbolic and recording the spiritually hilarious. Her adventures so far have included several years and a cooking show in post-Apartheid South Africa, a stint in rural south Georgia, a brief but sparkling singing career which she intends to revive, and a glorious indigo daughter named Dom. When she’s not teaching, training, writing, painting, taking photos, singing, or doing laundry, Andrea can be found in her kitchen, channeling her grandmother through new recipes, and feeding folks. Andi’s plans for the future include finding her way to the musical theatre stage. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website here.

What’s Your Anthem?

What’s my Anthem? I need an Anthem???

Yes! In fact you may need more than one. An anthem is a song or speech or poem – or whatever it is that works for you – that you want played loudly (over the PA system, through your earphones, or just in your head) as you walk, practically petrified, through the daunting arenas of your life.

I have Arenas? You mean with lions and bulls???

Well, not exactly real lions and bulls, although there are certainly times in the arena when we feel like we’re about to be eaten alive. Sometimes simply showing up as who we really are and saying what we really think, can feel just that dangerous.

I know you’ve experienced this. Maybe your arena is a board room, a sales pitch, a stage, or even being present for a difficult conversation with someone you love. Perhaps you could’ve used an anthem in school when you faced that all-important test or, worse, the principal’s office. Yikes.

There is a way, though, to make stepping into your arena, with your anthems playing, less scary – even rewarding.

It’s the Daring Way™.

Watch for more to come about that. Today I’m here to tell you about  anthems.

The other day I was writing to the members of a Daring Way™ group I’m running. I was elaborating on an assignment, reminding them to come to this week’s session with the names of their anthems.

Originally, the exercise was for them to pick a song by which they feel uplifted, encouraged, and remind them of how brave and magnifecent they are, and what authentic gifts they bring. But since music doesn’t affect everyone the way it does me (or Brené Brown who chose to include this exercise in her Daring Way™ program), I extended the assignment to include anything that empowers them to be themselves out loud.

What about a playlist?

Making a list of examples to send them turned out to be so fun for me, that I didn’t want to stop! And I didn’t want to keep that list all to myself and them either. So, you’re in luck! I’m posting it here for you.

I do have one caveat (and confession): This list is by no means complete. Which is why I didn’t want to stop when I was making the list of examples. There are so many more great candidates! Maybe I’ll get to those in a later post (or posts), but for now, you’ll hane to just enjoy these.

Music:

Poems by:

  • Billy Collins
  • David Whyte
  • Derek Walcott
  • Emily Dickenson
  • Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī (Rumi)
  • John O’Donohue
  • Lucille Clifton
  • Mary Oliver
  • Maya Angelou
  • Naomi Shihab Nye
  • Oriah Mountain Dreamer
  • Pablo Neruda
  • Richard Gilbert
  • Shamseddin Mohammad (Hafiz or Hafez)
  • Shel Silverstein

Books by:

  • Alice Walker
  • Anne Lamott
  • Bill Wilson
  • Brené Brown
  • Charlotte Kasl
  • Christiane Northrup
  • Dale Carnegie
  • Daniel Gilbert
  • David Schwartz
  • Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Julia Cameron
  • Hermann Hesse
  • Laura Overstreet Biering! 🙂
  • Louise Hay
  • Marianne Williamson
  • Nancy Blair
  • Napoleon Hill
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Pema Chödrön
  • Randy Pausch
  • Rick Tamlyn
  • SARK
  • Sonia Choquette
  • Sue Monk Kidd
  • Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Viktor Frankl, or maybe even

Quotes from:

  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Albert Einstein
  • Anne Frank
  • Ben Franklin
  • Betty Friedan
  • Beverly Sills
  • Billy Jean King
  • Eleanor, Franklin, or Theodore Roosevelt
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton
  • Elizabeth Kübler-Ross
  • Erica Jong
  • Gloria Steinem
  • Helen Keller
  • Henry Ford
  • Indira or Mahatma Gandhi
  • Jimmy Carter
  • John or Robert Kennedy
  • Lucius Annaeus Seneca
  • Malala Yousafza
  • Martha Graham
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Mother Teresa
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Ovid
  • Richard Branson
  • Rosa Parks
  • Steve Jobs
  • Susan B. Anthony
  • Vince Lombardi
  • Walt Disney
  • Warren Buffett
  • William James

Also… there are some inspiring Academy Awards Acceptance Speeches (see my March 13th blog post to get you started with these), and there are some awesome TED talks (get the top 1o here) and TEDx talks (get the top 10 here)…

OK. Since I have other things to do today, and I’m sure you do, too, I’ll stop here.

Now it’s your turn.

Pleeeeeease, even if it’s only one a day, take these like vitamins – try them out, take them in, and decide which ones make you feel the best. Then make your own list. You can start by “cheating off of my paper.” Then, before you know it, you’ll be choosing anthems seemingly written for you.

And please check back in with me here so I can “cheat off of your paper, too.” I hope you have fun perusing my anthems and then picking yours. Why?

Because it’s time to march confidently into your arenas, head held high ( even if you’re quaking in your boot), with your anthems turned up to 11!

 

PS I apologize for not providing you links to every single item above, but that would have surely gotten me in trouble with the Google police. And “ain’t nobody got time for that!”

Dropping the Ball

By Guest Blogger, Carolyn Cook.

OMG, I forgot to blog on my assigned day.

I know in advance that I am forgiven, so I’m not even going to pretend to obsess about this.  I know that you understand how it feels when you drop the ball. Right now, my life is a like game of catch. Most days, the ball is winding up in my glove. But on days like today, I’m not only dropping it, I’m watching it roll down the street and into the storm drain. Goodbye, ball.

I can’t even think about taking an intentional risk today. Risk is built into the structure of my life.  I am taking risks every day, because of the choices I’ve already made:

I have chosen to homeschool my child.

I have chosen to move my mother, who has dementia, to an assisted living facility that is five minutes from my home, and to be actively involved in her care.

I have chosen a career in the arts, which means I make very little money for a very large commitment of time, energy, and emotion.

There are new risks I want to take, and I’m looking forward to the time when life feels safe and boring again so that I can shake things up with an exciting new venture. But now is the time to hunker down and deal with the risky choices I’ve already made.

My next blog date is my fiftieth birthday. If there’s any risk I need to take at this stage of my life, it may be the risk of slowing down, dropping more balls, and letting them roll away. I simply want to love my husband, my mother, my daughter and my siblings. I want to be grateful for this amazing life we have with each other before it slips away.

If there’s any risk I need to take right now, it’s the risk of admitting that I am not in charge. Life is too big for me to hold in my glove. I’m part of a team, and it’s okay to let other people catch the ball sometimes. That’s how the game is played.

This post originally appeared True Voices’ RiskADay blog project, which has now concluded.

 is a sometimes peaceful, sometimes frazzled individual who works to a raise a daughter, build a marriage, and explore the human condition through theatre, art, music, history, literature, and relationship. She is now posting her insightful thoughts on her own blog here.

Laura Spills It

Hey – remember me? It’s been a while, I know. Why? Because I was afraid  of what you’d think of me if I came clean.

That’s right! I, Laura Biering – the RiskADay Coach, the one who works with people on their courage, self-esteem, and confidence, the one who leads and teaches using the Brené Brown texts, “The Gifts of Imperfection” and “Daring Greatly,” and the one who is soon to be a Certified Daring Way Facilitator – was afraid. And, instead of using the fear to propel me forward, I reverted back to an old, bad habit, and I let the fear stop me from engaging in one of the things I most believe in – authentic communication and connection.

This habit, by the way, the one we have of letting fear stop us, isn’t one I recommend cultivating.

When I look back on the fact that not writing you on a regular basis is a way of not walking my talk, a way of not honoring my values of authenticity, connection, contribution, creativity, vulnerability, and integrity (to name a few), the feeling I get is just this side of excruciating…

… except for when I “protected” myself from those feelings. I put the word protected in quotation marks because, I assure you,  any reprieve I got from choosing not to think about my fear and the associated inaction was always short-lived. And the agony was always worse when the period of attempting to protect myself was over.

(Note: My translation of “protection” here roughly like this: engaging in some form self-distancing, self-destructive behavior such as isolating, overeating, hiding my real feelings, judging myself unkindly, playing too many computer games, and otherwise procrastinating on doing important tasks or having important conversations.)

Again, as much fun as all of that sounds, it’s still not recommended.

You see, I’m super excited about the work I’m doing with Brené Brown and her team – working on, and getting closer to, becoming fully certified to deliver her program, The Daring Way™, by the end of the year (fingers crossed).

And, I’m super excited about offering this amazing work, which is somehow simultaneously deeply powerful and user-friendly. I’m looking forward to sharing it with more of my individual clients, as well as with groups (both in-person and via webinar) and retreat participants at my farm in Southeast Georgia. And who knows where else!

So what’s the catch???

Well, in the midst of all this super excitement, there’s something I’m not excited about. That is the fact that that in order to actually do any of this work, and for there to be actual people with me while I’m doing it, those people have to know about it. And this means I have to promote it.

Ugh.

Here’s the thing, though. This challenge affords me the opportunity to apply for myself what I’ll be facilitating others to do for themselves.

And isn’t that what we want in our teachers, leaders, and mentors? To have been there, to have survived, and to have found their way back to share with us what they learned while on the other side, the side of the muck and confusion, of desperation and fear?

It’s what I want. It’s who I want to be.

What about you? Is there a way you know you want to be, but haven’t yet been able to muster the courage? I’ll bet you won’t have to look too far to find at least one thing that falls in that category. I know I didn’t.

So, I forge ahead, writing this blog post, and committing to you to write even more – and more consistently – in the future.

And now, for another reason why writing this post was so scary to me  (drum roll, please…): I am posting a *picture of me with Brené. Why is this so scary? When you see it, you’ll know. It’s a darling picture of her, and a, well, let’s just say less than darling picture of me. And, I’m posting the picture here anyway.

Laura_and_Brene_during_the_hottest_summer_in_Houston_ever_Sept._2011_optimized-001Laura Biering and Brené Brown, in September of 2011, at the National Connections Training in Houston Texas, during one of the hottest summers on record there – the hottest since 1892!

Hey – you’re still here – that picture didn’t run you off.  Thank you!

Thanks, in fact, for being a part of my world – no matter what part of our world you live in. And thanks for being someone I can be honest with, which includes “spilling it” about the fact that I, too, get afraid, and sometimes I let that fear hold me back.

I’m grateful there are also times when I use the fear to propel me forward. May we all have more of those moments.

Amen.

PS Speaking of being propelled forward, here’s another risk: Please check out the cool groups and retreats I have coming up. All the details are at this link: – Creating a Wholehearted Life – The Daring Way™ – and of course. you can call me to can chat about it, if you have questions.

The bottom line is that if any of what I’ve said here or what I say on the Creating a Wholehearted Life – The Daring Way™ web page resonates with you, it would be my honor to have you join me and others like us on The Daring Way™ journey (and for you to get a bargain by bringing a friend, too).

Sure, stepping more fulling into being your authentic self more of the time, in more places, and with more people may be scary, but, at least for me, it’s a heck of a lot less scary than living in the aforementioned muck and confusion, desperation and fear.

So, won’t you join me?

*My sincere thanks goes out to Indrani Goradia for taking this photo.

As Is

By guest blogger, Andrea Lea

Last night I had a gentle aha moment… usually they slam into me and I am juiced and invigorated by the energy of them, but this was different. It kind of slid in like mud under a closed door. I was feeling resistant to it and defeated by it – it felt like an impossibility for me. It was too obvious. I should have mastered this already. One of those teachings that we’ve all heard so many times that we are numb to its power (at least I was).

No matter how hard you push, you will not move forward until you accept yourself HERE in the moment of NOW.

Oh no. Wait, wait, wait… Really?

I have no shortage of ideas or enthusiasm – ever. I am gloriously tapped in to Grace and am able to channel wisdom and universal love and non-judgment for everybody else. I will risk saying that I am an inspiration to many around me, and it is no risk saying that I am completely sincere in all my efforts. But I have placed such conditions on my love for myself that I can never ever feel safe there.

I am so harsh – mean, even. I am racked with a guilt that is a near-tangible, very conscious part of my every day life. Guilt is not God-energy. Guilt overrides joy and blocks flow. I put myself down and belittle my own efforts before they’ve been made. I shoot down my ideas and place them under the category of “Excellent and Profitable Idea for Someone More Capable and Valid than YOU.” I have frozen myself – paralyzed my progress – with the kind of pressure you see rich white parents in the movies put on their kids to move in a certain direction or else.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a miserable person. I’m just stuck. This week a dear friend who is stuck in a different way reached out to me and I told him to try to picture himself where he wanted to be. We talked about some of those details and I said to him, “For me, this requires no imagination. That is who you already are. That is how I see you.” It was very powerful for him to hear that. My love for this friend is unconditional. When he achieves what he is striving for in life, I will not love him any more or less than I do right now. My love for him is as constant as time. I will be happy for him. But he is right now the person I love.

I have a beautiful life, one for which I am limitlessly grateful. I have the most amazing and resilient family. My daughter is such a gracious teacher for me, and so beautiful look at and soft to hold. My dad is a present and loving parent and grandparent who moves quietly beyond the usual parameters of those titles with joy and non-judgment. My boyfriend is a true love; supportive and creative in thought and action, shares my core beliefs, and remains completely calm when I am stormy (a miracle in itself, I tell you), and is my most fun playmate ever. My home is warm and open and comfortable, full of kids and dogs and friends and family. My cupboard is full and there’s always something delicious on the stove.

I am surrounded with so much love. But right now, I need to learn to love myself in this moment. There are so many things I want to do… but I cannot withhold love and acceptance until they are all done… Until I’m perfect!

Today I am going to risk calling in some help. I am going to borrow the love and the vision my dear ones hold for me, and start seeing myself and loving myself the way they love me. They know my imperfections, and they place no conditions. I am going to do my best to do unto myself the way I do unto others: that means no judging, only encouraging and loving. Sometimes moving forward means standing still and accepting not only what the moment of now brings, but also accepting yourself, warts and all, in that moment, right where you are on your path.

Holler if you hear me…

Andrea Lea is a writer who is cracking the code of the symbolic and recording the spiritually hilarious. Her adventures so far have included several years and a cooking show in post-Apartheid South Africa, a stint in rural south Georgia, a brief but sparkling singing career which she intends to revive, and a glorious indigo daughter named Dom. When she’s not painting, taking photos, writing, singing, or doing laundry, Andrea can be found in her kitchen, channeling her grandmother through new recipes, and feeding folks.

This post was originally posted RiskADay.com.

Toot My Horn!

By guest blogger, Betsey Brogan

It took all the gumption I have, plus encouragement from both my sisters and my partner, but I did it by golly! I tooted my horn all over the place today. I have been tinkering with an idea for awhile. Rolling around in my mind. Playing with it. But I never let the idea out to play until yesterday. I asked for more time to do what I love which is giving massage. I had to make the request out loud that they allow me to be there another day. The response was fair : we’ll give it a try for a couple weeks for you to prove that it should be done. Well, that was just the opportunity I had been waiting for. But it was gonna take something strange that doesn’t come from me very often. I had to ask for help. I had to write up why my massage is so amazing that more people need to take part in it. That wasn’t the hard part. I love talking about how wonderful massage is. The hard part was asking people to help me get the word out. Asking folks to take a minute of their time to chat with me about how amazing massage is , so that they in turn would help me spread the word.

Good news!  I asked and I received!  Everyone was open to listening to me. They could tell how excited I was to talk about what I do. They were more than willing to help me in anyway they could.

So, thank you partner for believing in me. Thank you siblings for your tremendous support. I tooted my horn, and I lived to tell about it.

This risking stuff is working!

Betsey Brogan is on her way to creating World Peace – one massage at a time. On-site Chair Massage and In-Home table massage. Bringing Stress Relief to You.

This post originally appeared on RiskADay.com.